Dave Cross, 1st June 2018

NUT18: Speak up for libraries

Motion 15 set the context of Local Authority funding cuts a consequence of Government's austerity programme. Across the country libraries face closure, reduced opening times, staff redundancies (ten thousand jobs have been lost) and moves to using volunteer staff. National Literacy Trust research shows children who go to libraries do better at school and can read up to 5 books a week. In the world of food banks many families cannot afford to buy books for their children. 40% of the public use libraries, which undercuts the notion being promoted in government quarters that libraries are not relevant in a digital age or they are an expensive luxury.

Speakers championed libraries as democratising learning, putting knowledge into the hands of any citizen irrespective of means. Libraries today are so much more than books, a war space for the disadvantaged, a place to gain access to a computer or support with benefits claims or any of the other form filling we all have to do for many of the basics of living in our modern society. In short, they are community hubs and they're free, in fact one of the few free spaces left. In the library we area citizen not a consumer. Finally, in the words of one speaker, This culture of vandalism has to be opposed. We must protect our cathedrals of the mind. Speak up for libraries.


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